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Oil prices soared today amid increasing hopes for growth that were driven by positive data from the world’s top two oil consumers, the US and China.

Brent rose by 49 cents to $107.51 a barrel, ending five days of losses, while US crude also rose by 35 cents to $86.28 after slipping for four straight days, reported Reuters.

In November China imported about 5.69 million barrels per day (bpd) of oil, which marked the country’s second highest daily rate on record after an all time high of 5.98 million bpd in February 2012.

With several new refining units coming up in China this year, the data showed that refinery runs rose 9.1% to 41.61 million tonnes or 10.125 million bpd, compared to 2011 rates.

In the US, investors are awaiting results of a meeting of the US Federal Reserve, while the unemployment rate dropped to a four-year low of 7.7%, which defied the forecast that labour market would be hugely impacted by the recent Superstorm Sandy.

"Economists expect the US central bank to come up with a new round of Treasury securities purchases."

In a Reuters poll on Friday, economists expect the US central bank to come up with a new round of Treasury securities purchases at its policy meeting next week. About 50% of the respondents anticipated the buying to be worth $45bn per month.

Oil prices are also expected to be influenced by the outcome of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries’ upcoming meeting, scheduled for 12 December, on the supply outlook.

It is expected that the organisation will stick to the target of 30 million bpd that was agreed in 2011 despite high stockpiles and decreasing demand in growth, due to Middle Eastern conflicts that kept prices above $100 for most of 2012.


Image: In November 2012, China imported about 5.69 million barrels a day of oil, which is the country’s second highest daily rate on record. Photo courtesy of Daderot.